City Council approves labor contract with police union

The Lebanon City Council last week approved a labor agreement between the Lebanon Police Association and the city of Lebanon.

The union started negotiations in late May and held a total of three meetings, LPD Chief Frank Stevenson told council members at their Aug. 9 meeting. The new contract is in effect July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2020.

Stevenson said there were some changes to the contract that were necessary to stay competitive in the market.

“There were areas where we were slightly deficient from other cities our size,” Stevenson said. “Our focus was on being fair to the employee while keeping in mind that we, as an agency and city, do far better by retaining happy employees than having those employees move to other agencies.”

Other cities offer hiring bonuses for certified officers, he said.

“With this in mind, we tried to come up with ways to entice our people to stay here,” Stevenson said.

The longevity pay in the new contract starts with 1 percent in the fifth year of employment, rather than the ninth. There now is a 2 percent longevity increase in the ninth year and a 1 percent in the 13th year.

Additionally, three employees’ life insurance was increased from $50,000 to $100,000.
Councilor Rebecca Grizzle asked about the overall budgetary impact of the increases.

Stevenson said he did not know.

City Manager Gary Marks confirmed it was within the approved budget.

Stevenson said LPD is the only local agency that is fully staffed, comparing Lebanon to the Albany Police Department and Linn County Sheriff’s Office.

“They want to stay here,” Stevenson said. “I want to keep them here. I want to make sure they get what they need.”

Stevenson has been at LPD for 19 years.

He was named acting police chief on Jan. 28, 2013 when previous Chief Ben Silverman resigned.

On Jan. 11, 2014, Stevenson was officially sworn in as Chief of Police.

“I have stayed because I get to work alongside the best of the best on a daily basis,” Stevenson said in an email after the meeting.

“I truly believe this, I am very lucky to have the staff and co-workers that I do. I love my job, love this community and enjoy the progressive nature of the town.”

He added that he appreciates the support of the community.

“Yes, there have been challenging times, but no challenge that can’t be worked through,” Stevenson said.

In other business:
– The council approved $8,000 out of the Lebanon transit tax fund to pay for Lebanon Downtown Association staff.
– City Manager Gary Marks said that Lebanon has for years been the focus as a site for a prospective a transload facility, which would be used to transfer shipments between railroad cars and trucks. A recent news story said Millersburg was being strongly considered.